February 5, 2015 / 7:33 PM / 3 years ago

BlackRock appoints new head of U.S. iShares ETF business

NEW YORK, Feb 5 (Reuters) - BlackRock Inc, the world's largest money manager, has named a new head to lead its iShares exchange-traded funds business in the United States as it looks to bulk up its biggest market.

Martin Small, who has been with BlackRock for nearly a decade, will shift into a new role as U.S. iShares head in March, according to a memo from iShares global head Mark Wiedman sent to employees on Sunday night.

Small is joining iShares from the company's BlackRock Solutions division, where he co-heads the U.S. client advisory business for its Financial Markets Advisory group. He first joined BlackRock in 2006.

In the newly created role with iShares, Small will be responsible for leading operations across sales, marketing and communications, product, capital markets, and the iShares operating platform within the United States. He will report to Wiedman.

Small will also join the iShares Global ExCo, which includes U.S. iShares executives Daniel Gamba and Raj Seshadri.

Small's move comes as BlackRock looks to build out its iShares franchise in the United States, its largest market.

"We have big strategic ambitions in the United States," Wiedman said in the memo. "Our leadership structure must suit these ambitions, with the ability to mobilize and direct resources across the U.S. iShares business."

BlackRock, the largest U.S. ETF provider, last year had a record $102.8 billion in global net flows in its iShares business. In the U.S. alone, investors poured $82.8 billion in new money into iShares funds, doubling its 2013 net flows and also setting a new record.

Of the total $4.6 trillion in assets managed by New York-based BlackRock, roughly $1 trillion are assets in its iShares funds, which now account for 24 percent of the company's total long-term assets, an increase from 18 percent five years ago.

The ETF business has also become an increasingly key revenue driver for BlackRock, accounting for 36 percent of its long-term base fees, up from 29 percent five years ago. (Reporting by Ashley Lau in New York; Editing by Nick Zieminski)

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